Jonathan “chaka” Mahone
Jonathan ‘Chaka’ Mahone, well known in Austin, TX for his and his wife Qi Dada Priestess’ popular hip hop group, Riders Against the Storm (“RAS”), is also an accomplished painter. He considers himself more of a ‘visualist’ than a traditional painter, primarily using his creative output as a tool for social change and/or empowerment.
His style and work is influenced by the most powerful art form of the twentieth century: graffiti. As a young child, Chaka was captivated by the bold letter styles, colors, and imagery of graff writers in his hometown of Pittsburgh. Surrounded by the sounds of hip hop, the Graffiti murals were like cinema to the imaginative youth. Mahone takes secondary influence from the art of ancient civilizations and cultures. Indigenous art and design contain a complex code of symbols with sometimes ‘hidden’ layers of meaning.
As an artist, Chaka includes spiritual, social, and/or political coding in much of his work. Something familiar, but with a twist that represents a combination of the native/indigenous and the modern/urban energy: together.
He is currently running a fundraiser to help Austinites of Color, “Giving to the Givers,” which assists artists, social workers, healthcare providers, musicians, therapists, and teachers.